See how Nordmin Engineering’s company philosophy drives success and on-point solutions for Canada’s heavy industries.
Knowledge + Experience + Innovation = Solution. I’m not one for math, but this is an equation I can understand. It’s also the motto and operating philosophy of Nordmin Engineering, an integrated engineering firm for many different heavy industries and marketplaces.
Nordmin Engineering, founded by Chris Dougherty in 2005, has expanded to a 120-person team in the last 10 years, spurred by the need and want in the resource and industrial marketplaces for integrated engineering.
In just the first year the company added 10 more employees, with the intent to grow into a full-service option for the heavy industries. The focus turned to civil, structural, and mechanical engineering with the addition of another senior electrical engineer, and the merger with KMH Engineering took Nordmin into even more disciplines.
“It’s a great time of growth for us,” shared Dougherty. “Industries are coming out of a long malaise. Mining has room for growth as things get to a new normal, and the energy sector has tremendous opportunities in distribution, green energy, and replacing existing systems.”
Another merger, this time with its former subsidiary NordPro gave Nordmin Engineering the opportunity to streamline its overall operations, and combine their construction and project management group with the engineering side of the business. Not having two sets of administration is a huge cost saver for the brand; and while the efforts to merge are still ongoing, the culture between the two companies is strong, and the challenges have been few and far between.
“This is by far the greatest advantage from the merger. Cost saving is great, but having two companies that can come together and have a seamless company culture without much work is worth bringing the two companies together,” said Dougherty. “Any trace of an ‘us versus them’ mentality between the construction/project management side and the engineering group has all but disappeared, in part because of streamlining communications.”
By taking a deeper look into Nordmin’s operations, we can truly see just how all aspects of their motto combine to provide its clients with the best possible solution.
Dougherty and the rest of the leadership team at Nordmin Engineering are very aware of the true value of the product they are selling—and it’s not what you think it is.
“Any business is absolutely dependent on the people that work for it. In our situation, we’re consultants on a huge range of engineering and construction projects that are dependent on the level of skill from our workforce. We’re literally in the field of renting out our brains to the customer. If we don’t have the brains to rent out, we don’t have a business.”
To ensure Nordmin Engineering has the best brains in the business, the company has a very selective hiring process. There are plenty of components of Nordmin’s business that attract future employees—including pay above the industry average, profit sharing benefits, and impressive bonus options—so it can be a competitive environment to become a part of the company.
“Our employees have a tremendous amount of worth in the company. The people coming into Nordmin are obviously capable in a technological sense, but the main characteristic that attracts us to an employee is his or her ability to work effectively in our company culture and with other members of our team.”
Conceptual and detailed design, procurement services, construction management, and commissioning of the Kennecott Bingham Canyon North Ore Shoot Shaft.
Includes a hybrid headframe supporting both a tower-mounted friction hoist (service) and two drum hoists (production and auxiliary). Also involves the design of the new site sub-station, hoist house, bin house, shaft steel, two loading pockets, a dewatering system to handle 8,750 USGPM of influx, and a ventilation system rated for 400,000 cfm.
North American Palladium
Detailed design, procurement assistance, and commissioning services for the Offset High Grade Zone shaft/hoisting plant/underground muck handling systems. Included design of 1400m deep shaft, with headframe and three drum hoists, and all associated surface facilities. Hoisting complex designed for 7500 T/D hoisting rate, 5000 T/D ore and 2500 T/D of waste muck.
Resolute Forest Products Ltd.
Design, procurement services, construction management, and commissioning of a 68 MW condensing steam turbine generator complete with cooling tower and all ancillaries. The 1968 vintage GE turbine and BBC generator were purchased used and refurbished prior to delivery to site increasing the complexity of design specifically for foundations and conversion to modern control systems. Ancillaries design included all power piping design, 115kV substation and transmission, biomass and ash handling systems retrofit to existing boiler, all turbine and generator protection and control systems including vibration monitoring and plant DCS.
Stillwater Canada Inc.
Design of a new mine and milling facility. Nordmin was responsible for all aspects of the project including resource estimate confirmation to NI 43-101 std., Mine design and planning, 30000 mtpd Mill design, all surface works including dry, shops, admin, and warehousing, and overall site layout and road access. Nordmin also carried out procurement assistance, and will provide construction management for the project.
Nordmin Engineering is diligent about staying up to date in the numerous industries they serve, which is only possible through constant innovation.
“It’s about giving our people the best possible tools and the room to think outside the box,” shared Dougherty.
Although the recession of 2008 cannot be credited with too many positive outcomes, it gave Nordmin Engineering and Dougherty the opportunity to do a massive upgrade in technology, from 2D orthographic projection to 3D parametric modeling.
Orthographic projection enables an engineer to create single or multiple views of the object in question—three dimensions of an object are depicted in three views, each showing the object from one of three planes. Parametric models show height, width, and depth of an object in a single view.
It was a big investment for the company, especially during the downturn of the market, but it’s been a force multiplier since.
“We’re able to develop animations of a whole facility, and perform ‘walkthroughs’ of a building years before it’s even constructed,” shared Dougherty.
By combining knowledge, experience, and innovation, Nordmin Engineering is able to provide great solutions to its customers.
“We were competing against a number of other firms for a proposal on a large project—$850 million. One of the client’s leaders wanted to give us the project, but there was some resistance from the board of the company—we’re not a big organization, and that worried them. The client told his board that we are the like the Special Forces when it comes to executing projects like this. So we got the project.”
Dougherty is proud of what they have been able to accomplish so far.
“Very few people can do what we do as effectively at our size. We are involved in every part of our clients’ operations, from the ground up. We may be the little guy, but we punch well above our weight class.”
Nordmin Engineering Ltd. was founded in 2005 by Chris Dougherty. Since then, the company has grown from a single office to three as of the time of writing, with our headquarters in Thunder Bay, and an office in Sudbury, Ontario and Kamloops, British Columbia.
After a long working relationship, Nordmin merged with KMH Engineering of Thunder Bay in 2012. This added a very strong and widely renowned electrical firm into our ranks.
Our focus continues to expand, and where we were once a Company focused solely on mining, we now work in the pulp and paper, energy, electrical power distribution, and industrial sectors. Our company includes people in all of the major disciplines including mining, metallurgy, civil/structural, mechanical/piping, chemical, electrical/power, electrical/controls and automation, environmental systems and geology.
Most recently, Nordmin undertook a merger with NordPro, its former subsidiary company that is focused on construction and operational management. This has allowed us to offer a full EPCM package to our clients worldwide.
Nordmin Engineering Headquarters
Address: 160 Logan Ave.
Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada